By John Boyle
Mariners pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday for the start of spring training, but a day usually reserved for optimism included bad news for the team.
All-star pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a strained tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand, the Mariners announced. Iwakuma, who in his second year in the Major Leagues posted a 14-6 record with a 2.66 ERA and 185 strikeouts, injured his finger while preparing for spring training in Southern California.
The Mariners announced Iwakuma had the finger placed in a splint and will not throw for four to six weeks. At this time, it is not expected that the injury will require surgery.
“Luckily, this does not appear to be a serious injury,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a release. “It is a setback for Kuma, but we are confident that he will quickly overcome the missed time and be able to rejoin our rotation early in the regular season.”
Already the Mariners rotation was uncertain beyond Felix Hernandez and Iwakuma, and now they very well could open the season without their No. 2 starter.